Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Closet Makeover Part 2

Genius ideas are fabulous, especially when they actually work. Mid closet rod upgrade I had a thought that I instantly believed could improve life as I knew it and take this closet of ours from good to great. The idea? Hold on to your seats....A sliding full length mirror. Think full-on Beauty & the Beast sliding ladder style.

The idea manifested from pure need. Would you believe we've gone over a year without a full length mirror in this house? Here I am a girl that very much considers every aspect of an outfit - and for one whole year in order for me to see my outfit in it's entirety each morning I had to stand atop the toilet. You can imagine how glamorous I felt...We've been on the hunt for a full length mirror for a while, but didn't know where we would put it. All walls are occupied in our master bedroom and while we could integrate one into the master bath, there was no clear cut place in there either.

It wasn't until we were smack dab in the middle of our closet rod upgrade that it occurred to me that we could install one more piece of plumbing pipe the full length of the closet and then hang a mirror from the pipe that would slide from side to side.  Told ya - genius....

Pretty snazzy, right? But wait, the other thing about ideas, especially genius ones, is you have to be able to actually execute them. That's where my husband, Brent-the-brain comes in.  He did some thinking and came up with a plan to make my sliding mirror dreams come true.

Here was our process:

We bought some 2" x 1" pine lumber for the mirror frame. Using his router, Brent bored a 1/4" channel down the center of each piece to house the mirror glass.

We purchased a 16" x 60" mirror, so Brent miter cut the pieces of the frame and then used a joiner tool to fasten the frame together. 

Once assembled we sanded the entire frame smooth. 

Next Brent started assembling the track mechanism using a 2" x 2" and some cute little wheels purchased at Home Depot. 

Once all pieces were assembled, we stained the wood using Varathane's Ebony stain. We wanted the mirror frame to be very dark so it would blend with the black pipe. 

We let the pieces dry and then Brent slid the mirror glass into the frame. Luke was always close by supervising the progress. He like mirrors too, I mean the man is wearing a tux 24/7. He likes to admire his studly self.

To create a tight fit, Brent flipped the mirror over installed wood shims and filled the gaps in the back with silicone.

Next up we installed the plumbing pipe across the length of the closet. For this piece we used the 1" thick pipe and fastened it to the top shelf using U-bolts.

Below is the finished track mechanism. The pipe fits perfectly between the 4 wheels for a gentle slide. 

Brent fastened the sliding mechanism to the back of the mirror. 

*Alert*Alert* we have our first Shirtless-Shearer sighting of the season!

And then attached it to the pipe. 

Below is a little video we did to demonstrate how the mirror works. 
(if video has stopped, just reload this page)

Zip, zip from one side of the closet to the other. So simple and effective. I can now take the most perfect full outfit selfies, so obviously dreams are just coming true left and right around here :) We briefly worried the mirror would stick out too far and make the closet feel small and crowded but it doesn't. In fact the mirror actually gives the closet depth and makes it seem bigger. After living with the installation for a few days, we have no complaints - only praise for our new favorite toy! 

Fun fact: This entire contraption cost under $100.

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Our Closet Makeover

So, we sorta kinda accidentally updated our closet. Yes, you read that right and no I'm not necessarily the luckiest person in the world, but I'm pretty close ;)

Ok, so how does one go about accidently updating their closet? Good question...

Let me start from the beginning....Our house actually came with a pretty great master closet set-up. If you've ever been in a 1940's bungalow you know that storage space is not one of their strong suites. In fact, typically the closets are so painfully small that most girls would break into a panic attack upon laying eyes on them. However, Brent and I really lucked out because the previous owners added an entire second level to our home, adding a full master suite complete with a walk-in closet.


We were all smitten and grateful for our closet for close to a year, but then a certain oka.B photo shoot took place at our house and we had to remove a lot of the clothes from the closet for this shot:

Photo by Peter Ho Studio.
You know how it goes, once you tear something apart it's real tough to just throw it back together without taking a moment to re-evaluate. So, with our closet partially dismantled we decided to edit our clothing and consider some issues we had observed over the past year, namely a couple of sagging rods.

This little dilemma just wouldn't do, you see - We  I gots lots of clothes... and we didn't really see that changing anytime soon. We decided to capitalize on the half empty closet and remedy this issue before a rod snapped and the entire closet went to shambles. First things first, we had to empty out the rest of the clothes....

All the shoes too....

With our closet emptied out it was time to get crackin' on some new rods. As we considered our options, we knew we wanted to use a material that would be very strong, so the sagging wouldn't become an issue in the future. We knew metal would be stronger than wood and coming fresh off our DIY Console Table project where we used plumbing pipes, we decided the same material would be a cool concept for our closet rods as well.

There are rods in 5 different areas of the closet, so we took some measurements to determine the length of each space. Just like with the console table we had the guys at Home Depot cut and thread the pipes to our desired lengths.

We assembled the rods, joints and flanges to form T's for the top of the closet and one cross piece at the bottom. 

Once assembled, Brent spray painted all of the pieces black so everything would be uniform. 

Installation was pretty simple. To begin Brent measured to ensure the clearances were appropriate for the hangers. Next he made sure each rod was level and then simply screwed the flanges to the wall. 

Everything fit together seamlessly and I really love the unexpected industrial vibe the plumbing parts create.

Plumbing parts in a closet...random yes, but oh so effective! This concept was relatively inexpensive and totally customizable, not to mention these pipes could hold up a dangling linebacker. It was just the solution we needed and we really like how it turned out. In fact we liked it so much our little brains kept ticking away and before we knew it we had come up with another random, possibly genius idea, that we went for. Unfortunately for now I'm going to have to leave you with a big fat dot dot dot here:
. . .
(I'm feeling literal today)

Adding it to this post would make for one ginormous post and I just don't feel like getting carpal tunnel this early in life, so I'm going to be sharing part 2 with you next week. You know the drill, stay tuned! 

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A New Direction for the Solarium

We move around this house like a bouncy ball. Up and down, here and there, in and out. It's like we have decorating A.D.D.  I'm not complaining, simply stating facts. To be honest, this process works for me and my brain. I need to execute one concept at a time, let it soak in and then go from there. If I try to bite off the whole thing at once, I often rush things and end up regretting decisions or purchases. So, a human bouncy ball it is.

One space we have really been taking our time with is the solarium. We have definitely rolled in and out of this room a few times. Since moving in we have painted the ceiling and stenciled the flooring, leaving us with this:

With the space looking better and better with each completed project the question continued to arise - what was the end game? When I initially thought about the future of this room I envisioned a proper sunroom - flowy drapes, a sisal rug and some wicker furniture, you know the usual. But the longer we lived in this house, the harder it was for me to picture a room filled with pretty furnishings that no one would ever use. Of course people would walk through the pretty room to and from the deck, but no one would ever actually hang out in there. Some might argue that we would read, have tea or just sit with friends and chat, but when your house is right under 2000 square feet, allotting that much space to an "every now and then" used room seemed wasteful.

When we let ourselves stop and think about the out-of-the-box possibilities we realized we had one big glaring need this room could easily fill - Organization. We have important papers, computers, chargers, notepads, bills, pens and other work related paraphernalia EVERYWHERE! It took us 30 minutes to locate our marriage license when I went to change my last name. We are constantly chasing our tails trying to remember where we put stamps, our passports, the checks... It's insane! Our "to shred" stack is huge and there are three of them. You get the point, our lives would be SO much....well... more organized if we had one central location to house the above items AKA an OFFICE!

So, we broke out the sketch pad and began dreaming about our perfect space. We wanted a place to store the printer and shredder, a drawer for files in addition to a separate knee space for each of us. After a few tweaks we landed on this:

CAD drawings by my favorite CAD wizard - Wanda. 
Once the idea slipped from our brains, into conversation and onto paper, the more and more we knew this was the perfect use of this space. The room is bright with tons of natural light - making it a great design work space. Plus there is an entrance from the outside. So, if I ever needed to work from home clients would have a straight path to my work zone that doesn't include coming through the front door.  Because this room is the bridge between the house and the back deck, it sees a lot of traffic when we entertain. This was the only negative for placing the office here, UNTIL we realized the desk will easily double as a buffet (with a table cloth over it of course) when we have parties. We also plan to keep some of the bar ware in the far right cabinet right next to the deck for easy access. We are all about Multi-functional spaces!

Once we ironed out all of the details, things really started coming together; we had the electrician out a few weeks ago to install outlets on the wall and the cabinetry should be ordered this week. Plus, we happened upon the world's cutest office chairs last weekend at Scott's Antique.

We've been on the lookout for chairs for some time, but everything we found fell short in one way or another. When we found these chairs WITH WHEELS, arms and cushions, it was love at first sight. The existing upholstery is pretty worn and will have to be replaced. I love the fact we have the opportunity to customize them to add another layer of cool to the space. I have no idea what upholstery treatment they will get but I'm excited to explore the options. I smell a whole blog dedicated to these chairs coming up, wink - wink :)

A room with a plan - I love it! I'm confident this is the right direction for this room and I can't wait to see it all come together. Stay tuned -  cabinetry should be installed in June and it's full steam ahead from there! 

All photos my own. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bridgett Court Kitchen - Before & After

I believe a good Before & After story is good for the soul. To see a room totally transformed can awaken your imagination and encourage you to consider the abundance of options awaiting you and your space. Today I want to feed your souls some serious grub AKA show you a recently completed kitchen remodel I did with Chris Pfahl of Dreamweaver Building &  Remodeling.

Let's face it, there are 101 ways to layout any given room, but for most - knowing that is overwhelming. Plus, it's hard to imagine what could be, when what you have, is what you look at everyday. That's where bringing in a fresh set of eyes can be a good idea. Like most projects I do, I met this one on paper. As I've said before I truly think this is the best way to start the creative process, because it allows me to focus in on functionality only.  All I could see was the black and white reality of what was going on, which allowed me to pinpoint areas that could use improvement right off the bat. Here's where we started:

Photo my own. 

Unlike some spaces we dive into, this Before was not begging for love. In fact, overall it looked fine. There were no glaring issues, but there were certain aspects the homeowners wanted to improve upon both aesthetically and functionally in the space. One of the main requests was to move some of the major components of the kitchen around, namely - get the cooktop off the island. They also wanted to increase the storage and brighten the space up.


As you can see the cooktop was moved to the back wall which created a beautiful focal point with the wood angled hood and the dramatic marble accent piece. The cabinetry was taken to the ceiling, allowing the homeowners additional storage. The perimeter cabinets were painted Benjamin Moore's Smokey Taupe 983, which really brightened up the space, making the room feel larger.

Photo my own. 
The above wall had a large amount of open shelving and some storage, but because of it's positioning in the old kitchen design it felt sort of out of the loop. When we moved the cooktop to the back wall, we had to find a new home for the refrigerator. The above wall made the most sense and allowed for a larger refrigerator.

There was a little space left over which made for the cutest breakfast (coffee, toaster) + TV area you ever did see.

Across the room sat the sink and double ovens, both of which stayed in the same location in the new design. 

For a wall that changed very little layout wise, I think it's one of the most beautiful.

How pretty is this shot? I love the apron front sink, the beautiful tile all the way to the ceiling and the cabinetry proportions. The cabinetry is Bell Custom Cabinetry by Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios and is Inset Construction. I really love the delicate detailing of each and every door, not too heavy but subtly elegant.

The original island had a small overhang for stools. As practical as this is for a lot of kitchens, it really wasn't necessary for this one. The breakfast table sits a few feet away, plus utilizing stools in this location would of encroached on a heavy traffic zone. So, in the new design we scrapped the overhang and added shallow depth, full height cabinetry to the back of the island instead.

Not only does this approach offer more storage, but it gives the island a more furniture-like vibe. Speaking of furniture-like vibe - the island was constructed in alder wood and stained. I love how this finish offers a nice contrast to the floor and the perimeter cabinetry. 

So, what do you think? Pretty radical transformation, eh? I love the light, airy, elegant vibe of the space. The natural light is so good and the details are plentiful. The original kitchen was fine, the new kitchen is, let's see, how do I put this...awesome? Yeah, I'd say that adjective fits the bill! :)

Unless otherwise noted all photography is by Jen Wunderlich Photography

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Our Spring Front Porch.

This past Winter was the devil exhausting. Like a house guest that stays too long or a pimple that lingers before a first date, winter lasted F O R E V E R.... AND THEN, right when I thought we were in the clear and Spring was finally here. BOOM - there I was scraping ice off my windshield yet again. But finally, finally, FINALLY I believe it is safe to say our good friend Spring is here to stay.

Can I get a hallelujah?!

 H A L L E L U J A H

My spring "to do" list was a mile long. Locate white pants, de-ghostify skin, schedule pedicure, etc...But numero uno on the list - updating our front porch planters.

Last October we added some applewood to our planters for our Fall porch.

The same planter setup hung around through Christmas and on into the winter. The sticks really added charm for the holidays and I figured they were the safest bet for the cold, cold winter. Even I can't kill a stick. As happy as I was with the sticks, I was more than ready for a change of scenery. So, this past weekend we headed to Home Depot to peruse their flower offerings. I was ready for some color, texture and happy, which pretty much summed up 99% of the plants we came across. We narrowed down our selection and headed home with our loot.

We decided on some beautiful Asiatic Lilies and Dusty Millers.

To get the planting started we drug out our planting essentials - potting soil, my Digz gardening gloves, a pitcher of water and some miracle grow potion.

I started by adding a decently thick layer of potting soil to the bottom of each planter. I wanted to give the lilies some height. Next, I added the Lilies in the center and started placing the Dusty Millers around the Lilies on all four sides.

I added a little more potting soil to smooth things out, Brent poured on the miracle grow...

 and wham bam....SPRING in 5 minutes.

I really love the color and texture combination of the lilies and dusty millers in the slate gray planters - so elegant and fresh! I feel like I should wear pearls and a cardigan when watering my new plants. 

I'm surprised how much I like the light pink lilies in front of the bright red front door. To be honest I didn't even consider the front door when we made our choice, but I'm actually digging the combo. 

I'm in love - our new planters have given our front porch the sweetest, softest, happiest smile! With this item checked off our "to-do" list  our front porch is in tip top shape for Spring!

All photos are my own.